With the next round of lab practicals inching closer, we first years must decide on how to study. There are basically four options: practicing with our classmates, practicing with family and friends, reading over the syllabus/rubric for the lab practical, and just winging it. The last two options aren’t good ones. Even though we have been practicing in lab, we’re not prepared for the pressure of someone breathing down your neck and grading you. Which means we need to decide who we’re going to practice on.
Practicing with Classmates
Tips and feedback: Other OD students may do something in a different (better) way and can help you on the areas that you are struggling with. They also (hopefully) know the rubric and can let you know what you missed.
No explanations: While you have to tell them why you are performing something, they won’t ask you a million questions about every little thing.
Time: They won’t take as long to answer questions, as they know you’re being timed and will make it about the same level of difficulty as the actual practical.
I’m going to write about a very touchy subject here.
I come from Toronto (in the magical land of Canada). Before I left, I spoke to my girlfriend about how hard it would be to maintain our relationship. I had heard from friends in optometry school that long distance relationships were especially stressful in first year because of its difficulty. I wanted to make sure that we could work things out–that we would see each other as much as possible in between quarters and reunite at the end of these four years as if nothing had come between us.
When I left her the night before my plane took off, we both knew that it would be difficult. We felt we were ready to put in the necessary work to make things work.
A lot of people talk about how difficult it is to maintain a long distance relationship, but no one really talks about it in detail. A lot of long distance relationships work out–but for me, it hasn’t all gone according to plan.
We resumed classes this week following a two-week winter break. Whenever winter break comes around, one of my best friends and I always meet up to do something seasonal. Nine times out of ten, that wintery activity is ice skating followed by lunch and maybe a side of shopping. This year, we made plans to check out Maggie Daley Park, just east of Millennium Park.
Maggie Daley Park opened on Dec. 13 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. It was named in honor of the late wife of Chicago’s former longtime mayor, Richard M. Daley. The 20-acre park features a winding “skating ribbon.” With a surface area of 27,500 square feet of ice, it’s nearly twice the size of a traditional rink and makes for a great race course.
One of the best things about the IEI is its comprehensive service offerings. A patient who is diagnosed with angle closure glaucoma on the first floor in Primary Care can take the elevator up to the second floor and receive laser treatment in Advanced Care. During third year, you’ll learn just about everything you’ve ever wanted to know about glaucoma. You’ll learn about all the flavors and forms it comes in, who it affects, what factors put an individual at risk, and how to analyze endless visual fields and scans of the optic nerve and nerve fiber layer.
What is glaucoma? Short definition, it’s a blinding eye disease that clinically manifests as damage to the optic nerve and retina, causing a gradual loss of vision that begins peripherally and ends centrally. A lot of the time, this damage to the optic nerve and retinal tissue is due to high intraocular pressure. At this point, my classmates and I have had Glaucoma I and II. I feel confident in my knowledge of glaucoma and rumor has it, it’s one of the few sections on NBEO exams that everyone answers unhesitatingly.
Most commonly, glaucoma is managed with the use of pharmaceutical eye drops that work to decrease intraocular pressure and hopefully halt or slow progression of the disease. Less known is that glaucoma can also be managed with laser and surgical treatments. At the IEI, laser treatment is offered in office. The two main used laser treatments for glaucoma are laser peripheral iridotomy (LPI) and selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT). LPI is used for angle closure glaucoma and SLT is used for open angle glaucoma.
At 22 years old and recent college graduates, my friends and I are at the age that we have entered the real world. College loans, grad school, jobs, figuring out where to live, and how to still have a life are all problems in our young lives. It seems that no matter where you go or what you do, you have to spend money. For instance, my friend just asked me if I had any ideas for a date night for him and his new girlfriend because he was already running out of ideas. Besides going for walks or bike rides, what else is there to do besides watching a movie in your parents’ basement for free? All my ideas involved going out to eat or a movie, or even paddle boarding (rent for an hour or two?). But everything involves money. And it becomes even more of a concern when you’re taking out a ton of student loans for grad school.
Is it really impossible to find free things to do, or does our generation lack imagination? Or is the issue that we look at the cost of something to determine the worth and fun of it? Even as a grad student, I still want to make money, save money, and pay for the occasional fun outing or item in addition to the necessities!
I’ve just eaten dinner and was about to start studying when I decided that I would rather spend my time writing. So I’m writing this. Even though I have an Optics test tomorrow at 8 a.m.
But I’ll explain why I’ve made that choice a little later.
My classmates and I have been at ICO for nearly four months now. The bright-eyed, naive idealists–who stepped onto the grounds of ICO as a group of strangers, hoping to learn as much about the world of optometry and to help as many people as possible–have disappeared.
Today, we are battle-worn. We know each other as well as only optometry students can know each other. Our bonds are strong, having been tempered by the difficulties and tribulations of professional school. We are like lost soldiers, depending only on each other as we struggle to survive in an endless desert of notes and diagrams of eyes. We climb sand dunes to find an ever-expanding desert of deadlines and test dates. And sometimes, among the sleepless nights spent fending off coyotes, whose only goal is to whittle our GPAs closer and closer to the cut-off point of failing a course, it seems like this desert will never end.
I may be exaggerating a bit here.
It’s not that bad…
No really, it isn’t. I’ve only had one all-nighter since I’ve been here–and that was because I had insomnia.
You’ll be fine, I promise.